Amazon 30% off any book

Amazon offers code HOLIDAY30 for 30% off any book sold by Amazon (expires tomorrow, 11/29).
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Fun with Citi Price Rewind

A policy that isn't worth the paper it's printed on

Today's lesson is exploiting Citi's Price Rewind policy, which is a gold mine that you never knew you had.  Most credit cards advertise a price protection policy, which promises that if you purchase an item on your card and find it at a lower price later on, they'll reimburse you for the difference.  Sound good?  Yes, too good.  Most cards never pay out on this policy, because you need to jump through a couple of hoops, including mailing in a copy of the advertisement where you found the lower price.  What?  Yes, finding a newspaper with the advertisement, cutting it out, and mailing it in.  What if the lower price is on Amazon?  Tough luck, no Internet price matching.  What if the price is lower but there is no printed advertisement?  Tough luck, you need the printed ad.

As advertised, Citi Price Rewind is virtually useless.  There is a Price Rewind website where you can  enter details of your purchase, and the system is supposed to automagically alert you when their hard-at-work, omniscient machines scour the Internet to find a better price for you.  I tried this, and lo and behold, it didn't work--I made a purchase from, and even when Amazon (and other retailers) lowered their price, no benefit was triggered even though all conditions were met.

Light bulb!  Sticking it to the man

I discovered that you don't need to rely on the Price Rewind website.  Instead, what you can do is fill out a blank form and fax it in to them.  THEY WILL MATCH INTERNET PRICES!  FROM ANY RETAILER!

Allow that to sink in...

Has your mind recovered from the racing through the possibilities?

Yes, you can buy from anywhere and get it price matched.  I am batting 100% so far in my price match requests.  The only restrictions being 1) a maximum of $300 per item and 2) $1200 per year per card.  Found a great price from a retailer you've never heard of?  Perfect -- order from your trusted store.

Even more possibilities

The truly wily among you will realize that there are even more possibilities:

  • Category bonuses: What if I have a certain credit card from Citi that earns 5X ThankYou points at an online retailer that sells virtually everything?  Not only will I get the lowest price, I will also earn 5X points if I buy from my favorite retailer and then get it price matched!  Another example is the Citi Dividend card, which is paying 5% back at Best Buy this quarter.
  • Double price match (DON'T DO THIS!): This is not something I have done nor is it ethical.  In theory, if you find a retailer like Best Buy or Staples that has a post-purchase price match policy, you can get it matched twice.  If the price difference is 50%, you would get it for free!
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Amazon Prime membership just $67 for new members - Friday only!

Amazon is offering Amazon Prime for just $67 to celebrate some TV show winning the Emmy.  It's as good as a reason as any to subscribe to Prime for a full year at 33% off its regular price.  The best value for me is the 2-day shipping, but there are others such as Prime Video (Netflix-like service), Prime Music (Spotify-like service), Prime Photos (SmugMug-like service), and Kindle lending library (lend your books to others).
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Buying Whole Foods Gift cards at a discount

(update - Cartera has wised up and has stopped paying out miles for e-gift cards at Staples)

It's easy to make fun of Whole Foods Market, which really doesn't do anything to shed its nickname of Whole Paycheck.  What makes it worse is that they often say and do things that make it clear that they themselves think they're overpriced, whether it's launching a new store with lower prices (um, how about just lowering prices in your current stores?) or just admitting to Wall Street that its prices are too high (oops).

So how to justify shopping there?  How about getting a discount on gift cards?
  • Easy: You might have a special credit card that rebates you 5% or even 6% on groceries.  Best bet?  Perhaps the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card, which pays you back 6% on the first $6,000 at any grocer.
  • Harder: Maybe combine that credit card with the "auto-reload" feature on its gift cards, which promise 10% back on your first reload with diminishing returns on subsequent loads.
  • Hardest: The best discount is to acquire frequent flier miles by buying e-gift cards at Staples.  Each mile should be worth 1.5 to 2 cents (providing you can find a seat).
How does that work?  Well, Staples advertises through several shopping portals, including many of the airline shopping portals that are run by Cartera such as Alaska's, United's, American's, and Southwest's.  Physical gift cards don't earn miles, but e-gift cards usually do from Cartera portals despite terms that say they aren't supposed to.  So, combine the following 3 discounts:
  1. Credit card: Chase's Ink card gives you 5 Ultimate rewards points per dollar spent at Staples.
  2. Airline shopping portal: Earn 2-5 miles back (look for frequent earning bonuses by checking out Cashback Monitor).  Hint: United is offering 4 miles back right now.
  3. Airline shopping portal bonus: During certain times of the year, the above portals pay out bonuses for hitting a certain amount of spending through their portal.  That is an additional 2-4 miles per dollar.  Right now, for the back-to-school shopping season, many Cartera portals are offering bonuses including: United, AmericanSouthwest!
The haul?  5 + 4-ish + 4-ish = ~13 miles per dollar you spend at Whole Foods.  That should be worth at least 1.5 cents per mile, or ~20% back in airline travel for every dollar you spend at Whole Foods!

And it doesn't end about other e-gift cards?  Why not EARN 13 MILES PER DOLLAR ON EVERYTHING YOU BUY!  Staples carries e-gift cards from:
  • Target
  • eBay
  • Home Depot
  • Lowes
  • Gamestop (if you find a store that does it, you can buy Amazon gift cards with these!)
  • ...
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The Bank of America trifecta - earn 2.63% cashback plus $1075 in account bonuses to start

Update: I was wrong about two things related to the BofA Travel Rewards card: 1) unlike the BofA Cash Rewards card, the Travel Rewards can only be redeemed toward travel charges made on the BofA Travel Rewards card, unless you have a BofA Fidelity card, in which case you can transfer the points earned to the Fidelity card and then redeem for cash into your Fidelity brokerage account, and 2) unlike the Cash rewards card, the 10% bonus on deposits to your checking account do not apply, because you can't transfer the points to cash in your checking account.  2.63% toward travel isn't bad, though.  And what's more, is that like Citi's credit cards, you can pay your BofA credit card balance with a debit card by calling 888-998-2829 (collections department).  So if you have a rewards debit card that pays you 1% back (hard but not impossible to find these days), you can theoretically earn 3.63% back!

Road to riches via manufactured spending

Do you have $100,000 in cash under your mattress?  No?  I am a little disappointed, because you could have earned this sum by following some of my past advice in buying Visa gift cards and liquidating them.  With the right credit card, each of the following cards earned me ~$20.

Credit card glory

Okay then, do you have $100,000 in your IRA?  If yes, you can take advantage of Bank of America's relatively new Preferred Rewards program.  In the program, you can earn bonuses for keeping money at Bank of America, including its subsidiary Merrill Lynch.  These bonuses include (in order of importance to me):
  • 75% bonus on credit card rewards
  • free investment trades every month
  • waived monthly bank account fees
The first of those is the most important.  You see, Bank of America has some credit cards that pay you 3% back in certain categories.  That translates into 5.25% back.  If you don't care to hustle around and buy gift cards at 7-Eleven, then you won't get as fat a bonus, but you can get 2.63%2.89% back on everything you buy.  So consider paying those pesky convenience fees for your income or property taxes, paying 1.88% or 2.35% and earning 2.63%2.89%!  I like those numbers!

How to earn 2.89%?  Bank of America has a Travel Rewards credit card that earns 1.5 Worldpoints (i.e. 1.5% cash back) for all amounts spent on it.  Multiply that by 1.75x, and you get 2.625% cash back.  Wait a minute, you say.  That's not 2.89% back.  You're right, because there is another bonus which is if you redeem your points for cashback that is directly deposited into your Bank of America checking account, you get an additional 10% back, so you really earn 2.8875% cash back on everything!

Alternatively, you can get the Cash Rewards credit card, which earns
  • 3% (5.775% with multipliers!) back at the gas station
  • 2% (3.85% with multipliers) back at grocery stores, and
  • 1% (1.925% with multipliers) back on everything else.
The only downside is that the bonus categories (gas & groceries) is limited to a bonus on $1,500 per quarter, which puts a serious crimp in my get rich quick schemes.

$1,075 to start!

There are nearly always account opening bonuses on all three accounts: brokerage, checking, and credit card.  These will add up to $1,075 if you apply in the right sequence and take advantage of a current checking account promotion:

  • $300 for opening a checking account (expires April 10, and note the direct deposit requirement and service fees, which will get waived if you keep a certain balance and waived permanently once you qualify for a Preferred Rewards tier)
  • $600 for depositing/transferring $200,000 of securities ($300 for $100,000)
  • $100 for opening a Bank of America credit card, which will get bonused up into $175 only after your 3-month average BofA balance has reached $100,000 and you redeem into a checking account.  You will need to wait about 1.5 months for this to happen if you deposit $200,000.
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Get 25% off your physical book purchase at Amazon

(expires December 14 at midnight PST)

Amazon has a pretty amazing deal for your next book purchase. By using promo code BOOKDEAL25, you can get 25% off your purchase of a physical book (up to $10 off)!
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Hand-picked coupons

Home Depot: 10% off
(unknown expiration)

Lowes: 10% off
(unknown expiration) 10% off
(unknown expiration, code: MOVER10) $10 off $50
(unknown expiration, code: LOWES50)

About Rob Deals

My name is Robert. Really. My site is dedicated to helping you find "Rob Deals" -- deals that make retailers feel robbed. My job as a consultant involves helping companies sell more stuff. This site helps me make amends for working for the dark side.

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